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Italy Travel Tips, Info and Warnings for Planning a Trip to Italy

Our Italy travel tips and info can come in handy if you are planning a trip to Italy. Ask a travel question about Italy and get our advice. Where to eat in Venice and Rome? Where are the best places to visit along the Amalfi Coast? The best Italy hotels, tours or even package tours?

We will give you our honest opinion and unbiased travel reviews on places we have visited, hotels we have stayed in and restaurants we have eaten in, in Italy.

We will also give you tourist advice on the best places to visit, when to visit Italy and of course here on this page, we will give you an overview of the kinds of things you should be aware of when you first travel Italy.

Italy Travel Tips for the First Time Visitor

Italy Travel Tips - Passports and Airline Tickets

You cannot visit Italy unless you have a passport that is valid, and still has at least 6 months on it.  

Passports are also needed when you book into a hotel or other forms of accommodation. A copy is made by the proprietor who, by law, has to lodge this at the nearest police station.

Italy Travel Tips - Visas to Italy

Which country needs a visa to Italy? Do you know if you need a visa?

You may need a visa to enter the country depending on your nationality.
People from any EU country , including those from the United Kingdom , do not need a visa. Nor do people from Australia, New Zealand,  United States of America and Canada . You will be allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days only.

South Africans and most other nationalities will need to apply to their local Italian embassy for a visa which usually shows that you have a return ticket and enough money in the bank for the time you will be in Italy.

Italy Travel Tips and Warnings - Crime

Italy is a wonderful country to visit, but like any other country Italy has crime, especially in the main cities like Rome, Naples and Milan. Therefore, be vigilant and don't pay any attention to young child beggars who will distract you while someone else is picking your pockets! The best way to deal with them is to say, "No! Via!" Like the locals do. Making sure that you pronounce no the Italian way which is short, and clipped, and not the English way .

A friend of ours got to Milan airport, stepped outside to catch a taxi only to discover that in the short distance from the passport control kiosk and the taxi rank he had had his passport and his wallet stolen. There is nothing worse than having that kind of start to your new holiday!

So be aware, and don't carry a lot of money on you.

We suggest that you make a copy of your passport and have it either as a soft copy on your computer or as hard copy that in the unlikely event that your passport is either stolen or lost you will be able to replace it a lot quicker with this document.

Other important documents that you should copy are your airline tickets and credit cards.

If your pasport is stolen go to the nearest police station to report it and then contact your embassy within Italy.

Italy Travel Tips and Money

It is far better to have your money in the bank, and travel with a debit card that is international and will allow you to draw money from an ATM machine known in Italy as a bancomat . However, be warned, all ATM machines are in Italian , so learn some basic Italian words and phrases before going down that route.

The first time we tried to access money from our Italian bank account from the ATM I ended up falling about laughing at my poor husband whose Italian is non-existent,  mainly because he relies on me to interpret - as I watched him from the car becoming extremely agitated at not being able to decipher the instructions to get his money out.

As I was no use to him due to my mirth he finally turned to a good samaratin who was behind him in the queue and probably equally frustrated at having to wait while my husband bashed away at the keys with no result.

Credit cards are usually only accepted in the larger cities, and even then some smaller food outlets like family trattorias, pizzerias and pensioni may not accept credit cards. However, you will be able to use your credit card at an Italian ATM as long as you get a PIN number from your bank that issued the credit card, in advance.

There have been cases where the machines have swallowed up tourists' credit cards so make sure that this is not the only supply of money that you will be counting on.

Italy Travel Tips - Getting Travel Insurance for Italy

Insurance is to cover you for accidents and the unexpected.  For most people who experience problems like these during their holidays always wished that they had invested in some time and money of getting some travel insurance cover. Most of the time they hadn't and their holidays are spoiled by huge bills. All this could have been avoided had they taken out travel insurance for Italy .

Italy Travel Tips - When to Travel to Italy

Italy can be visited at any time of year, but if you are really smart about avoiding crowds, school and national Italian holidays , having good weather and getting reduced prices on your accommodation then head over to our page on when to visit Italy for further details.

However, Italy is also famous for some very good festivals and if you are planning a trip to Italy around these events then you will need to know when they are. There is nothing worse finding out that you missed a major
Italian festival by a few days.

Of course the
weather is a deciding factor, especially if you are thinking about going skiing in the wonderful skiing resorts around.

Italy Travel Tips - How Much Does it Cost to Travel to and Around Italy?

The cost to travel in Italy will really come down to 3 major costs:
  • Flights to Italy
  • Method of Getting Around Italy
  • Accommodation in Italy

Travel to Italy Tips: Cheap Flights to Italy

Flights to Italy vary, and to be honest I always look for the cheapest tickets available. However, I also don't compromise on how many legs are involved or the distance traveled. For example, many cheap flights to Italy can be found but then you discover that you have a 10 hour delay in the carrier's airport plus 3 stops along the way making your travel time probably 2 - 3 times longer than necessary.

If you are not in a hurry to get to your travel destination then that is the flight to take. I am too impatient, and old enough not to want to sit around in airport terminals waiting hours for my connecting flight. For me, there is a balance. And if you do your searching correctly you can find a flight that matches all your requirements.  You can save a lot of money here.

I once booked my ticket from Abu Dhabi to Italy for 50 % lower than the published price. As there were 5 of us flying it was a substantial saving.

Here is one company whose database you can search for
insanely cheap flights , however there are plenty of others on the Internet.

Getting Around Italy - Group Tours or Independent Travel?

I prefer independent travel for so many reasons. Perhaps I am anti-social, but I can't think of anything worse stuck with a group of people for a couple of weeks that you may or may not like.  

Group Tours have their Advantages.

  • You can enjoy the scenery without having to worry about the traffic or getting lost.
  • You are taken to areas of interest and most of your meals are usually provided.
  • Taking a group tour gives you an overview of the country and what it has to offer.
  • It can be a great way to meet new people especially if you are recently divorced or widowed.
  • You will be able to see a lot in a short space of time.
  • Short guided tours of Italy allow you to get an inside guide to an area, city or town.
  • Guided tours of Italy are not just for Italian landmarks and destinations. You can go on wine tours, shopping tours, bike tours, walking tours and even take cookery classes.

However, Group Tours also have their Disadvantages:

My main gripe against group tours is that you don't have any flexibility that independent travel gives you. 
  • You don't have the ability to stay longer at places that really interest you.
  • You cannot explore the countryside apart from what is in the itinerary.
  • You don't always end up with people that you like.
  • Group tours are often whistle-stop affairs that are so exhausting you will feel as if you need a holiday on your return.
  • Group tours often work out more expensive than independent travel.
  • There really isn't the opportunity of getting to know the people. To me, that is the whole point of traveling; to experience the culture, getting to know the locals, their crafts and their food.

I love hiring a car and going out to places I haven't visited before, taking roads just for the hell of it to see where they lead, or going on a planned excursion knowing that I have all day to enjoy it.


What are Your Italy Travel Tips?

Come and give us your own travel tips, advice and opinions! We WANT to hear from you!

If you have any questions regarding your trip to Italy we will try and answer your travel questions to the best of our ability. Although we will give an answer there is space for you the reader to add to your comments. We want YOU!!!

In asking a question in our Italy travel tips section you will be helping others out there who have been wondering the same thing, and will now have an answer. So ask away by just typing your question in the contact form below.

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